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The Youth & the Millennium Development Goals - HIV & Aids Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by KOKONYA O PATRICK, Kenya Feb 24, 2007
Health   Opinions


Let me confess that we have all along refused to call a spade, a spade ... we keep calling it a big spoon! This is hypocrisy of the unforgivable order! Yes, we all yearn for a future without HIV and AIDS as my friend Wanjiku Njoroge observed in her article on the youth and HIV and Aids in Kenya, more needs to be done.

HIV and Aids continues to claim more and more lives in this country and elsewhere. It ravages every soul in the societal fabric without mercy. In fact the most productive group contributing to the growth of Kenya's economy and indeed any developing country particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa are the youth who are still productive yet vulnerable.

This group is being swept away as the world watches. Most organizations have now succumbed to talk-shops instead of actions on the ground. Instead of marginalising young people in terms of budgeting and programming, it is time we sat down with them and discussed HIV and Aids interventions together. Time for planning for youth in their absence is long gone.

Resources for Peer - to - Peer approach to the scourge should be set aside. Peer education, life skills, Training in guidance and counselling among other interventions is crucial. We have to target youth in and out of school now. Provision of Youth - friendly reproductive health services is important. Policies have to be developed in an all-inclusive process but then monitored for implementation. Youth should be encouraged to be active participants and not given tokens!

The youth-friendly Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCTs) facilities should be established at every stop for youth to easily access. Sex education, talk and discussions in schools and other institutions of learning should be in the curriculum's.

Religious institutions - Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, animists and non-believers should also participate. Abstinence is one thing, living it is equally different. Young people need a society that understand them, listen to them as their friends.

Religious leaders can reach majority people every week preaching on the pulpit or synagogues o mosques! Oh! how many of our believers can we reach in a week? If we cannot do anything now, we will preach to empty benches! This is the time-bomb reality. Parents have a role to play as first tutors to their children.

Poverty is an issue here. Developing nations should let third world or the developing countries manufacture or at least import generics of HIV and Aids drugs to address the situation. Multinationals are exploiting the poor countries, where affording a single meal in a day is a pipe dream.

I wonder, for those living with HIV and Aids and have families; should they spend money on purchasing very expensive ARVs and going through ARTs or should they buy food for the starving family? The world has to watch out this time round. We have bitter lessons to learn from.

Remember in 1994 for a record 100 days or so, the world watched unperterbed as citizens turned against their kins in Rwanda (the Rwanda Genocide). Too unfortunate but we are all in a healing process. This time round, we should not sit and watch as citizens die out of opportunistic illness arising from HIV and Aids simply because of poverty perpetuated by the developed nations who seem not to honour the Millennium development Goals (MDGs), due to be realised by 2015.

Those who are HIV Positive need our support; the uninfected need education for prevention an the multinationals should stop milking the poor nations on the little dime for buying food! Poverty doesn't cause HIV and Aids, it is only a contributing factor. Let us make poverty history as young people through this kind of forums on TIG. Bravo veterans of TIG. Kokonya O Patrick, Junior Consultant on Youth Development & MDGs, Kenya & South Sudan.



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